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Fighting to Keep It Working
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- I've had a TiVo Premiere since 2010; I had a series 2 before then. Earlier this week the cable company made a change in the channel lineup; no big I just have to re-scan on all of the TV's. Unfortunately, my wife went to re-scan on the TiVo and just told it to scan and didn't tell it to delete all the channels. We ended up with duplicate channels; one that works and one that doesn't.

If you're watching live TV it's annoying, but you can keep trying until you hit the one that works; for recording it's a crapshoot if you'll get a blank screen. No big deal, you delete all the channels and then re-scan and it works. Only when you go to hit three thumbs down and hit enter to confirm deleting it just takes you back to the previous screen.

So I contact support via chat, their preferred method. They try to blame my network and they want me to "reset my network". When I ask what they mean by that they want me to power cycle my cable modem and wifi router. Keep in mind, I'm chatting with them online, so this will break the session. Second, why would a TiVo need a network connection to re-scan for channels. As they requested I did restart the TiVo and while it's restarting he kept asking if either of the channel scan options worked.

I explained three times that scanning always worked but the option to delete never did. After the third time, when I explain the TiVo is still restarting (it does take forever, but this is TiVo support). He then closes the case and disconnects. Frustrated, I call support and after a half an hour they decide that I should wipe my TiVo and reset it up. I assume that will work, but when I ask about them fixing the channel scan so future changes don't necessitate wasting over half an hour re-entering settings and I'm told there is nothing to fix.

I contacted the executive relations team since I had their information from a problem last month and I was basically told I was wrong. Today I got a call back and I was told that the delete option was working as expected. When I asked what the point of having a menu entry that does nothing, she claimed that it would delete the channels. First, it doesn't delete the channels -- and yes I've re-tested that just to confirm.

Second, what's the point of having a DVR with no channels configured (if you were getting rid of it, you'd want to wipe all settings, not just channels). So my expected behavior that it would delete channels and rescan, the behavior that its exhibited for over five years, makes more sense. TiVo's response was just that I'm wrong.

This is particularly frustrating as I have had this issue off and on for the last five years. I've open numerous cases about it -- typically explaining that I had resolved my immediate solution by using a different remote, using the android app, or wiping it and starting over. I was told that they have no record of my ever opening a case about this issue. They also said that I never contacted support earlier in the day as there were no open cases.

Since I mentioned contacting them a month ago, on Christmas Eve we most of our channels quit working. Support tried blaming the cable company, but they confirmed that my signal strength was good and I didn't need to re-scan for channels on any of my Tv's or on my MythTV setup. After four hours, only the last hour of which did I see any actual troubleshooting (checking signal strength etc), they said I had two options: buy a new TiVo or get a cable card. They couldn't guarantee that either would work since they didn't know what was wrong. Since they sell a device they are responsible for both the hardware and software, so I didn't find that acceptable.

I eventually talked to someone from their Executive Relations Team who said that a cable card isn't compatible with my current cable package so that's not even an option. He said that I have the newest TiVo that will work with the service that my cable company currently offers. So neither of those were solutions. Since he took weeks to get back to me, I had fixed the problems myself. I'm not sure which steps are necessary, but I un-plugged the TiVo and waited a couple of minutes.

After starting up it did't work. I then deleted and re-scanned for channels (in the one step, that I expected to work this month). Disappointed that we still had the issue of channels not working, I deleted and re-scanned for channels. While that didn't work, it did result in just 15 channels which is about how many were working.

I then went into the menu where you can hide channels that you don't actually get (you might get a signal, but it might be encrypted etc) just to confirm all the channels I should had were still checked. They were, but when I backed out of that menu, there was a long pause. After that, I had all of my channels back. Thus it appears it was a software glitch and that's consistent with none of my other devices having an issue at that time.

Throughout this process I was told various things that really convinced me this company just doesn't understand their customers. The best example is when I commented about having to re-scan every couple of months despite none of my other devices needing to indicating that it wasn't a change made by the cable company, I was told that TiVo's require a much strong signal then a TV. That decision was made since they are recording. Also, the signal strength ever drop below that, the TiVo just drops the channel until you re-scan.

Think about that for a second; say you are watching your show and something happens and the cable drops out for five minutes. Instead of just losing that five minutes, you know must re-scan which can take awhile. Why would that be the desired behavior from my perspective? TiVo just argued that it was because you wouldn't want inconsistent recordings, but I'd argue something is better than nothing. There are other issue like I don't get any program data for my HD-channels. TiVo has said it's my cable provider's fault for not providing proper information on those channels. That may be true, but SchedulesDirect gets it correct for my MythTV box.

At the end of the day, my MythTV setup has been more reliable, less work to setup and maintain (and that's with SchedulesDirect refusal to automatic renew, so there's a manual renewal every year), it has more features (you can have multiple backends -- that is tuners -- and multiple frontends that all cooperate), and overall is just a better product.

Even the lack of customer service is an improvement over the TiVo's customer support whose actions scream "Please don't be our customer", who have yet to solve one of my problems, and who have REALLY annoyed me (seriously, get them some basic customer service training -- interrupting me every time I try to talk is not cool).

TiVo - TV OUR Way
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- I have been a subscriber to TiVo's service since 2001, and I would have considered myself one of their greatest advocates... until recently. Now, I am fast becoming one of their greatest detractors. I upgraded to the TiVo Premiere in July 2010. It worked fine... until TiVo deployed its updates. Although TiVo's Marketing Director suspects I received a defective unit, the machine worked perfectly for about 1-1 1/2 years before gradual deterioration set in, following a major software update.

I will be the first to admit that, when it works properly, TiVo is phenomenal. BUT, when it FAILS, one has no other recourse but to launch the machine from a catapult atop a tall skyscraper. If your TiVo unit fails, and you have filled it with (hundreds of) hours of recorded programs, you will be faced with the following ultimatum: Cough up another $250-$400 to replace your machine and LOSE all your recorded programs; or, retain your recorded programs and learn to live with an expensive – and bulky – paperweight. Unless you plan to continue paying the monthly service fee for the second unit, once deactivated, your old unit will lose all its recordings.

So, if you have accumulated a volume of recorded programs and, especially if you added the DVR Expander for additional recording capacity, you will be wishing you hadn't if you ever have to replace your machine. Oh, and don't even consider TiVo's networking feature of transferring programs between machines – most programming, these days, is copyright-protected and, as such, these programs may NOT be transferred between TiVo DVRs, even if they reside within the same household. Perhaps TiVo should change its slogan to: “TiVo – OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!”

BEWARE, if you begin to experience the following:

* Freezes.

* Random restarts.

* Manual restarts EVERY DAY; sometimes, 2-3 times per day.

* To view upcoming shows from the menu selection "Recording Options", plan to click several times to return to the necessary screen, as TiVo will ALWAYS automatically return you to the previous screen, as your cursor moves upward and before you have a chance to select "View Upcoming Shows".

*Expect to inadvertently click "Play From Beginning" EVERY TIME you want to change a "Keep Until" date, now that this redundant and utterly useless new "feature" pushes all other menu items down one line (Seriously, why do we need this feature, when we can simply hold down the "replay" button to return to the beginning?).

* Season Passes with lower priority levels, as supposedly prioritized by the user, will be selected by TiVo over higher priority programs, often removing the higher priority recordings from the "To Do" queue. This happens, even when the lower priority program is scheduled to be broadcast one week AFTER the higher priority program.

* Partial recordings, even when TiVo indicates there is plenty of space available. *Randomly deleted recordings, when TiVo claims their expiration date arrived - often on the same date they were recorded and, sometimes, when they are set as "Keep Until I Delete"! - and there was still plenty of space available for it to be saved longer.

* Currently recording programs disappear if you delete a different program while the current program is recording. The "Recording History" will indicate either "an internal error" or, more likely, that "not enough space was available" - again, even though TiVo's system page indicates that there is plenty of space available (30-40 SD hours, which is the same TOTAL HOURS as the original TiVo!).

* Inability to set recordings, due to "not enough space available" (see above), even if only a single ½ hour sitcom is scheduled in the "To Do" queue.

* Inability to set recordings if you have something else in your "To Do" queue set to start recording within the next 12-hour period.

* Prepare to check, double-check and triple-check, on a frequent basis, your "To Do" queue, because TiVo will not honor your requests; instead, TiVo decides for itself what it will record. TiVo will randomly delete recordings set in your "To Do" queue, for no apparent reason. On occasion, I've had to manually reset a program to record as much as four times in a single day, because TiVo kept removing it from my queue.

* Regarding NetFlix - DON'T EVEN BOTHER! TiVo's NetFlix browser is WORTHLESS AND WEAK. I use either Roku or my LG Blu-ray player to stream movies, since TiVo's system requires buffering and reloading about every 5-10 minutes (that is, assuming you can get the movie to play in the first place)... what a way to watch a movie.

Recently, I recorded a movie at midnight. When I awoke the next morning, I looked for my recording in the "My Shows" list but, guess what? It wasn't there, so I reviewed my recording history and, sure enough, there it was listed as "Deleted"; according to TiVo, it was deleted because its time had expired and the space was required for another program.

It provided an exact time for that other program, but NOTHING was recorded at that given time on my TiVo; in fact, NOTHING AT ALL was scheduled or recorded after the deleted midnight program, and my TiVo indicated that I still had 24 hours of space available for recordings (the deleted program was a mere 2 hours).

Ironically, TiVo now requires more micromanagement from me than the old TV/VCR combination ever did! Back then, I could set my VCR to record something, come home from work (or wake up in the morning) and... voila!... my recording would still be on the tape and would play back beautifully. Hmmm... Technology is good; progress not so...

Oh, and on another note, TiVo service in my area was down for several hours on two separate occasions. I contacted TiVo's so-called "customer service", only to have what I already knew confirmed. They assured me that my bill would be discounted for those lost hours, but did I see any such discount on either respective bill? In a word, NO! TiVo reps are NOT TO BE TRUSTED. I've got a life, but TiVo just doesn't get it!

My biggest beef with TiVo (and other DVR services) is that, ten years ago, I paid $400 for a DirecTV/TiVo DVR and I OWNED the machine. I did not have to return it to TiVo, because it was COMPLETELY MY OWN PROPERTY. Now, one still has to fork over roughly the same amount, but the machines are leased ( i.e. NOT owned) by the consumer.

And this brings me to my next point: I still OWN my 1st and 2nd TiVo DVRs, on which I can continue to view my recorded programs, even if their recording capability is no longer available. It's similar to having a library of DVDs without taking up valuable shelf space. But, after deactivation, the recorded programs on the TiVo Premiere will be no longer accessible. People "buy" DVRs, obviously, to record hours of programming, so they can "watch television when they want to watch it".

In what world does it make sense, then, to require people to return (or deactivate) their machine when they need to replace it with a new one, only to lose hundreds of hours of programming? So much for watching “TV your way”. In a nutshell, TiVo lets you watch TV when it decides to let you watch TV. In an analogous situation, should I be paying a monthly fee to Sony? After all, I still own and view my VHS tapes, loaded with programs recorded using my Sony VCR. (And, actually, many of the programs on my old VHS tapes look 10x better than the same programs recorded off digital cable/satellite – I've tried both – onto my TiVo DVRs).

I do have to give some credit to the Marketing Director for his response to a similar review I posted elsewhere and for his efforts but, on behalf of TiVo, he cannot offer an amenable solution to my situation. Suspecting my current TiVo unit to be defective, he sent me a replacement machine, on the basis that I would transfer the programs from my old machine to the replacement and, then, return the old unit to him. And he gave me two months overlap time, for both machines to remain activated, to do so before returning the old machine. This would have been no problem, if I could actually transfer my hundreds of hours of recorded programming between machines.

All the programs on my current machine, however, appear to be copyright-protected, so they cannot be transferred from one machine to another, even if both machines reside in the same household ( i.e. on the same network). And, thanks to TiVo's heavy promotion of its large capacity hard drives (Record up to 300 HD hours with TiVo® Premiere XL4! - Now with 4 tuners, so you can record even more shows!), and the DVR Expander, I have accumulated over 1400 hours of SD programming on my DVR. If I were to keep the new machine, I would lose all that recorded programming!

I, even, offered to pay the additional monthly service fee for the second machine, if I could keep both machines until I clear the old machine of its programming (by either viewing the shows or re-recording them on the new unit - though many of the shows are rarely re-broadcast and still many more will never be re-broadcast).

So, after just 2 years of service on my current TiVo DVR, it looks like I will have to fork over yet an additional $250.00 PLUS an additional monthly fee for TiVo service on a second machine, just so that I can record on a (hopefully) properly working DVR, while still retaining the hundreds of hours of programming that I have recorded on my current DVR. On second thought, perhaps I will simply request a new generic DVR from Time Warner Cable (after all, the unit itself is essentially free, since I will only have to pay the monthly service fee, and I had initially returned their DVR when I received my TiVo Premiere) and FORGET TIVO ALTOGETHER!

IN CONCLUSION, BEWARE: If you are anything like me, and you record a lot of programs on your DVR, you'd better hope and pray that your TiVo NEVER fails. Mine lasted only about 1 1/2 years before it began to deteriorate, thanks to bad software programming/deployment and/or a defective machine. Now, capitalism rears its ugly head as I must empty my wallet again for the sake of TiVo and my own sanity. TiVo - and Capitalism - wins again!

TiVo Steals... TiVo sucks
By -

A fair warning about TiVo and why TiVo sucks. Short version: I paid for a lifetime subscription. TiVo cancelled my account, claimed I called and cancelled, and claimed they credited my account. I never called and cancelled my account and they never issued a credit to my credit card. Now I have a useless TiVo machine with no service and I'm out over $300.

Details: I used to always brag about TiVo and have purchased 6 TiVo machines. I have been a TiVo customer for years and currently have three TiVo boxes "running." I have to put quotes around running since TiVo took it upon themselves to turn off one of them, which I paid a lifetime subscription for. I received and email warning and I emailed back to TiVo and even attached screenshot showing I had a lifetime subscription and never received any response. They proceeded to shut off my box. I then had the pleasure of calling TiVo. Should you ever call them, be prepared to be on hold forever.

After giving up on two previous occasions, I finally planned my day around it and was able to get through after about 20 minutes of being on hold. The customer service representative was less than helpful. He claimed I called and cancelled my account, which I had not. I explained I had a lifetime subscription and he insisted I cancelled my account and claimed my credit card was credited. My credit card was never credited and I explained that. He then claimed their records showed they issued me a credit and he blamed my credit card company and said I had to take it up with them. I called my credit card company and they confirmed I never received a credit from TiVo.

I got online with TiVo, which still took about 30 minutes to get a representative. The guy looked at my account and agreed something did not look correct; however, he would have to send it to a supervisor to look at. Even though he did absolutely nothing to rectify the problem, except pass it along, he seemed helpful. He told me someone would call me and I asked if they would leave a message with a number I could call back without being on hold forever, since I don't answer calls I don't recognize, since they're oftentimes sales calls. He said they would leave a number that was a direct line. Did they ever call and so much as leave a message? No.

Bottom line: TiVo can take your money, claim you cancelled, claim they refunded your money, and leave you with a useless TiVo box and out hundreds of dollars. But they'll make sure they wait a few months, so you don't even have recourse with your credit card company. TiVo SUCKS.

Customer Disservice
By -

Before entering into a relationship with TV (tee-voh), carefully consider the difficulty you will most certainly encounter when it inevitably comes time to "break up" with TiVo. After 2 and 1/2 years of being generally satisfied with the service, we realized that our casual and rare use of the service no longer warranted spending the monthly fee to keep it.

After calling to cancel the service the day my account was billed for the NEXT month's service, I had to go round and round with their customer "service" department to cancel the account and get refunded the charge. The charge was indeed refunded in the customer un-friendly time frame of 10-14 days as promised, but unbeknownst to me, the customer "service" representative neglected to actually cancel the account.

So the next month upon noticing an additional monthly charge from TV on my charge account, I contacted the customer "service" department to demand an immediate refund and an explanation for the *unauthorized* access to my card. After 45 minutes on the phone with 3 customer "service" reps including a floor supervisor, I have a cancellation effective NEXT month and a credit coming back to me within the next 10-14 business days. It's interesting to me how they can easily process an incorrect - and unauthorized - charge on a Saturday afternoon, but they are unable to apply the corrective refund "because it is a Sunday".

This is a prime example of what I consider a customer disservice provided by an customer "service" department whose sole purpose is to provide a buffer between the customer and the people who create the policies and procedures that generate the dissatisfaction that I and many other TV EX-customers have experienced. Instead of being a highly dissatisfied TV ex-customer, I wish I had known this so that I could have saved myself the aggravation and not been a TV customer at all.

TiVo Series 3 - The Truth Is Out There
By -

NEW JERSEY -- Like many others - I was delighted with my Series 3 when I bought it in late October 2007 - with the original hefty pricetag. Despite some initial install problems (cable company at the time not comprehending cable cards) - once I got up and running I didn't look back.

That's until late Jan/early Feb of this year when my S3 began simply coming apart at the seams. Freezing, Rebooting, GSODs etc. Like many others because you have an S3 with cable cards.. the S3 going down leaves you with nothing to fall back on. Despite constant running around replacing HDs, cable cards, cables etc.. all known possible fixes provided by support.. still problems that eventually leaves you feeling like you've just been kicked to the curb with Tivo moving on and no longer caring about their S3 customers. In fact you end up feeling like a nuisance rather than a valued customer.

After reaching out to other S3 owners. The amount of users having the same problems with their S3's after a roughly 12-14 month period simply astounds me. (If you don't believe me do a google search for Tivo series 3 problems). It really makes me question why the S3 was indeed discontinued.. did Tivo simply get tired of replacing them or handling the endless tech problems? True Tivo can't do enough for you when you are a perspective buyer or a new customer.. but once youve become a long term customer with problems-they are suddenly a lot less unresponsive.

True, maybe the new Tivo HDs are a lot better.. maybe its only those unfortunate enough to own an S3 who'll be left behind with now very expensive doorstops.. but regardless, based on my own experience.. I will not be looking to Tivo in the future for my DVR needs. Which is sad because I really do believe it was originally a great product and service. But once things went bad with the S3.. and they obviously did.. the number of people left out in cold, and brushed aside after spending so much hard earned money is simply inexcusable, even from a once great company like Tivo.

Double Billing Me & No Refund
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- I bought a new TIVO and when I activated it I didn't realize I had to call and ask them to cancel service on my old TIVO. I recently realized they have been double billing me for 16 months and when I called to ask them to refund the money from the 2nd billing, they told me that was "against our policy at TIVO." The staff members I talked to (about 5 people total) were all rather arrogant and refused to help me at all because of their "policies."

The customer service at TIVO is evidently much worse than that at Comcast, a feat I didn't think was possible. I wonder how long this company will be around given the competition for the consumer dollar and MUCH BETTER customer service almost anywhere else. I used to rave about TIVO. No more. Now I'm warning people against it. There are much better options, such as On Demand and other DVRs.

No Commitment = Extreme Commitment
By -

I signed up for Tivo's month to month service, specifically because it said no commitment. My account still says on it no commitment. I called to cancel because my service does not work, and it doesn't record. When I call to cancel they said that by "No Commitment" my service plan meant "no commitment AFTER a year long commitment." That they were sorry they made the mistake of putting "No Commitment" on the account, but that that was "no more dishonest than what cell phone companies do."

Tivo is pulling a classic bait and switch, call it "no commitment" even though they ADMIT that it is in fact an iron clad commitment to their service. Their early termination fee of $200 was more than the ENTIRE year long plan that THEY signed me up to. To them NO commitment means that's your plan after a commitment. I was ripped off.

Scam... Poor Service... Frankly, a Joke
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

I am very displeased by your service... Brief summary... Check case**. I bought a DVR from Walmart, the device was defected so I had to return the item even though I wasted a lot of time. Waited approximately 10 days for the new device... Received it yesterday, I was unable to change the TSN in my account on the web. Thus had to call in. This is what I was told..."When you placed your order via the website, the order and details of the order were placed in an older customer database (this took over 45 minutes to figure the issue)." After talking to a supposed manager the solution was..."We have escalated your ticket to be resolved ASAP but I have no idea how long that will take."

I was on the phone for 75+ minutes trying to become a CUSTOMER!!! RIDICULOUS!!! Today I get home and tried use the device because I receive an email with a survey on my experience... I am still unable to use the services I paid for weeks ago!!! I also paid for a full year!!! I asked for a refund and this was not an option. I am fed up and will be posting this in every avenue possible as I sit here on hold for 10+ mins... I also received an email saying my email address has been changed. NOW I CANNOT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT...

Terrible Customer Service
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

Let me start off by saying I have been a loyal customer of TIVO since 2006 and have gone to battle many times with friends, co-workers and even strangers, making strong justifications that TIVO was worth the extra cost. Not anymore. The box I purchased back in 2010 has been acting up, so I called customer service to see if there was any cheaper options for longtime customers to purchase the Roamio than the big bucks listed on the website. I was told I could get a whopping $20 of the cheapest $199 option but that there were no other discount or upgrade options for the mid-grade or high-grade Roamio boxes.

I spoke to the CS agent about cancelling my service and she seemed to think that was OK and didn't care either way. Is this really how TIVO thinks it's going to keep customers now that they have all this competition? I am sorely disappointed in my interaction with this company today... and will be cancelling my service.

Tivo's Billing Practice
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY -- I purchased DVR F481 in December 2009. I upgraded to DVR 45C8 in November 2009 but failed to cancel the old service because it wasn't clearly apparent to me that upgrading to a new device would mean to cancel service on the old. I discarded DVR F481. Then in 2011, I upgraded again to DVR 7D92 and discarded DVR 45C8. Again not realizing that I needed to cancel the old service. So as of today, I have paid TIVO close to $1,330.56 in service fees of old devices that were discarded. Yes, you have a policy to call to cancel, I understand that now, however it is not a logical process nor did any of the written material stress this point.

From a customer service perspective, TIVO should have offered me either to credit my account or reimburse me the service fees, but you have refused. I also found many other former customers complain about this practice. Some even called to cancel old devices but the cancellation didn't go through and they were subsequently charged for months of service. That says to me that TIVO is OK with making sure people keep paying them for service that they can't even use. Beware.

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TiVo Rating:
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1.1 out of 5, based on 8 ratings and
20 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
2160 Gold Street
San Jose, CA 95002
408-519-9100 (ph)
408-519-5330 (fax)
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